Florida Health Advocates and Consumers React to King v. Burwell and Discuss Next Steps

June 25, 2015
Contact: Rebecca Wakefield 305 804-7051 rebecca@seiu1991.org
             Jackie de Carvalho 561 287-2879 jackie.decarvalho@seiufl.org

Florida Health Advocates and Consumers React to King v. Burwell and Discuss Next Steps

WHEN: Thursday, June 25, 4:00 pm

WHERE: 636-651-3141 access code 6180203#

WHAT: Media call on Florida’s health care crisis

WHO: Health Care Advocates, Floridians with Healthcare subsidies, SEIU Florida, Florida Chain

Miami – In the wake of the Supreme Court’s common sense ruling on King vs. Burwell, 1.4 million Floridians currently receiving tax subsidies to buy affordable health insurance are breathing a sigh of relief. The decision indicates that the Affordable Care Act is here to stay, protecting the overall health and financial security of millions of working people across the nation. The battle in Florida is far from over, however.

“With the Supreme Court’s decision, hard-working women and men across the country can go back to living with the freedom of not having to choose between paying for healthcare or paying for food,” said Monica Russo, president of SEIU Florida. “Unfortunately, that won’t help nearly one million working Floridians who are eligible for Medicaid expansion right now but have been brutally denied access by an ideological House and Governor.”

“Research studies have repeatedly demonstrated that health insurance coverage enables people to live healthier lives, reduces premature deaths, and improves financial stability for consumers. Thanks to the tax credit subsidies available under the Affordable Care Act, 1.3 million Floridians have health insurance they purchased on the Marketplace,” said Laura Brennaman, Policy and Research Director for Florida CHAIN. “The Supreme Court decision will promote improved health and health care access for consumers who do not have access to group coverage through their employers. Our Florida legislature and Governor now need to take action to improve health and health care access for 800,000 Floridians in the coverage gap by expanding Medicaid eligibility.”

Because the deeply-divided Florida Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott refused to implement any provision of the Affordable Care Act, the issue will again be the top political battle in Florida in early 2016, just as the Republican presidential primaries focus all eyes on the state.

Today’s call will offer reaction from health care advocates and Floridians who were at risk of losing health care coverage in the state with the largest number of people enrolled in ACA and receiving subsidies. Additional interviews available on request.

Andrew Beckner, a millennial business owner based in Orlando, knows first hand the impact of health insurance, even for healthy twenty-somethings. He currently pays $50 a month for insurance under the federal exchange.

“Last year, I was in a car accident and had no insurance then,” Beckner said. “I took a taxi to the emergency room to avoid paying the ambulance bill. Even so, I’m severely in debt with medical bills from that one emergency.”

Alvaro Sevilla, 56, an insurance broker in Miami, pays $27 a month for his health insurance. Without the subsidy, his cost would have skyrocketed to $340 a month, becoming unaffordable on his budget.

“I have signed up hundreds of people for insurance plans, most with subsidies,” Sevilla said. “For me and for many working families in the Hispanic community, quality health care is completely out of reach without the subsidies.”